Talks are at an advanced stage between BDO and a mid-tier competitor about a 400 million-pound ($640 million) merger that would be the biggest tie-up in the accountancy industry in a decade.
A revival in the eurozone was pushed back by a year yesterday when the European Commission scythed its forecasts and warned that fierce budget cuts would stifle growth and keep unemployment high.
Banks that combine retail and investment operations are facing a fresh threat of being broken up if they fail fully to implement the government's ring-fence, under plans being explored by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
Global stock markets fell sharply and investors fled to safe havens yesterday on fears that Europe's festering crisis has spread to Germany and a bitterly divided Washington may struggle to avert a fiscal crisis.
Workers across the country - from the lowest to the highest paid - have suffered real-term income cuts in the past five years as salaries failed to keep pace with inflation, a study by the Office for National Statistics has found.
The European Commission yesterday forecast that British Finance Minister George Osborne was likely to miss one of his key debt targets unless he took action in next month's autumn statement - but it also predicted that Britain would be the fastest growing of Europe's big five economies next year.
Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts yesterday dismissed as "dangerous" the idea of quotas to boost the number of women in the boardroom, despite growing evidence of discrimination in the business world and the prospect of just two female chief executives in the FTSE 100 next year.
Britain's beleaguered coal mining industry suffered yet another hit yesterday as the owner of one of the country's last remaining deep pits announced plans to mothball the operation, with the loss of up to 540 jobs.
Iberia, the Spanish airline that merged with British Airways to become International Airlines Group (IAG) last year, is to axe up to 7,000 jobs tomorrow, union bosses have warned.